Sunday, July 31, 2011

General elections for November :Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Friday called General elections date r November 20.Zapatero told a news conference,This date “will allow us to finish substantial matters and will enable the new government to confront the challenges of the country from January 1.” Zapatero told media the economy was set to recover. “In a very complicated context, the economy is showing positive signs. We have put in place the bases for the recovery. Main opposition, Popular Party, has been demanding an early vote since May, when Mr Zapatero's Socialist Party, suffered heavy losses in local and regional elections. Spain embattles fiscal crisis. Zapatero will not be seeking a third term as prime minister, and opinion polls suggest his Socialist Party - led by former Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba - will lose.Reports BBc

Friday, July 29, 2011

U'khand High Court rescue Balkrishna's arrest

Uttarakhand High Court on Friday stayed the arrest of yoga guru Ramdev's close aide Balkrishna, charged with procuring fake educational certificates, and asked him to appear before the CBI on August 3.

Justice Tarun Agrawal also asked the probe agency to file a reply to the court on Balkrishna's petition within three weeks, his lawyer Rajendra Dobhal said.

The court, while hearing a plea seeking stay on the arrest, asked the accused to cooperate with the CBI in investigations and appear before it on August 3. Balkrishna is facing charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy for procuring fake educational degrees and using them in getting a passport.

The petition for stay on the arrest of Balkrishna was placed before Justice P C Pant yesterday. However, he recused himself and referred it to Chief Justice Barin Ghosh.Earlier, Ramdev's aide made two pleas to CBI seeking 10-20 days time to appear before it, which were rejected by the investigating agency.

However, with today's court order, the pleas by Balkrishna have become infructuous as the judge asked him to appear before the agency on August 3.

The next date of hearing has been fixed on August 29, advocate Dobhal said.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

British royal wedding Zara ties the knot

LONDON: Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton was watched by billions around the world but second British royal wedding of the year will be much more down-to-earth.Queen Elizabeth II's eldest grand-daughter Zara Phillips and her fiance Mike Tindall, the England rugby union veteran, are to marry in a private ceremony at Edinburgh's Canongate Kirk on Saturday.The pair, both world-beating sports stars, have planned a wedding that combines their low-key style with just the right amount of regal splendour.

All the senior royals are expected to attend -- William and Catherine included -- and the reception will be held at the nearby Palace of Holyroodhouse, the queen's official residence in Scotland.Phillips, 30, the younger child of the queen's only daughter Princess Anne, is a former eventing world champion and 13th in line to the throne.

Tindall, 32, played in England's 2003 World Cup-winning team and captained the side in their victorious 2011 Six Nations campaign.The wedding comes almost exactly three months after Phillips' cousin William, second in line, tied the knot on April 29, with a million people lining the streets of London and an estimated two billion more watching on television.The 321-year-old Canongate Kirk is on Edinburgh's Royal Mile thoroughfare, a short walk from the Scottish Parliament and Holyroodhouse.The royal family attend services at the Church of Scotland kirk when staying in the Scottish capital.Phillips met Tindall in Sydney in 2003 as the England squad celebrated winning the World Cup.

The jovial, broken-nosed Gloucester captain claims it was his "pure charm" that won her heart.The couple live in a regency townhouse in Cheltenham, southwest England and have largely kept their relationship out of the spotlight.

Tindall proposed on December 20 last year and the casually-dressed couple then posed for a few pictures in their snowy back garden.Rugby players are renowned for enjoying a drink or two and Tindall celebrated his stag party in Miami last month in true style, racking up a $20,000 bar bill.William and Catherine's fairytale marriage at Westminster Abbey cost a small fortune to stage.
Wedding takes place 30 years and a day on from the 1981 marriage of William's parents Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

Phillips has followed in her mother's footsteps in becoming an equestrian champion Anne won gold at the 1971 European eventing championship -- and has carved out her own life away from palace pressures.

Anne decided her two children would not bear royal titles and they do not carry out royal duties.The British press dubbed feisty Phillips a "royal rebel" after she had her tongue pierced as a teenager.Media-agencies

MMTC, AAI seek Navratna status

MMTC and Airport Authority of India are the new PSU aspirants for the coveted Navratna status which gives greater operational autonomy, a senior official has said."More and more companies are approaching us and seeking Navratna status... Airport Authority of India (AAI) and MMTC have approached us for the status," DPE Secretary Bhaskar Chatterjee said in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The MMTC proposal, which meets the criteria, may be examined next month, he said.
The criteria for granting the Navratna status is based on a composite score system.

The PSUs are accorded scores on different performance parameters like net profit, networth and manpower cost to total cost of production.The board of directors of 'Navratna' PSUs can take investment decisions up to Rs 1,000 crore without approval from the government.Though the AAI, which was set up under an Act of Parliament, does not qualify for the status, the parameters themselves may be rationalised, the Secretary said.The staff strength in the AAI is not proportionate to the expenses on production, he added.It was constituted by an Act of Parliament and came into being on April 1, 1995 by merging National Airports Authority and International Airports Authority of India.The company is engaged in creation, upgradation and maintenance of civil aviation infrastructure both on the ground and air space in the country.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

President Obama Addresses the Nation Tonight at 9

BREAKING: President Obama Addresses the Nation Tonight at 9

Tonight at 9 p.m. EDT President Obama will address the nation on the stalemate in Washington over avoiding default and the best approach to cutting deficits.

You can watch the speech live at WhiteHouse.gov/live starting at 9 p.m. EDT tonight.
President Obama will address the nation on the "stalemate over avoiding default and the best approach to cutting deficits"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Home Minister’s Bhutan Visit

Home Minister’s Bhutan Visit
Union Home Minister, Shri P. Chidambaram visited Bhutan from 22-24 July, 2011 for the Fourth SAARC Home/Interior Ministers’ Meeting. The Meeting was preceded by the Meeting of SAARC Immigration Authorities and SAARC Home Secretaries on 21-22 July, 2011. The Union Home Minister was accompanied by the Home Secretary and other senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs.

During the visit, Shri Chidambaram received audiences with the King and the Fourth Druk Gyalpo of Bhutan. He also called on the Prime Minister of Bhutan along with the leaders of delegations from other SAARC countries. On the margins of the SAARC Meeting, Shri Chidambaram met his counterparts from Pakistan and Maldives. The Home Secretary of Nepal called on the Union Home Minister.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

China's,Bullet train collide in Wenzhou City

China's,Bullet train collide, An accident in Wenzhou City of east China's Zhejiang Province, when D301 train from Beijing to Fuzhou rear-Collided the D3115 train at 8:50 p.m. The first four coaches of D301 and the 15th and 16th coaches of D3115 went off the line.Xinhua reports-- Death toll has risen to 35 and 210 were injured when a high-speed train smashed into a stalled train late Saturday in east China's Zhejiang Province, according to the provincial emergency office.Casualty,as of 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 35 people have been confirmed dead, including two foreigners, the emergency office said in a statement.

The accident occurred at 8:27 p.m. Saturday on a bridge near Wenzhou City in Zhejiang Province when high-speed train D301 rear-ended D3115, which was allegedly hit by lightning and lost drive.Four carriages of D301 fell off the viaduct while two carriages of D3115 were derailed.Train D301 was heading from Beijing to the southeastern city of Fuzhou in Fujian Province while D3115 was running from Zhejiang's capital city of Hangzhou to Fuzhou.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao called for all-out efforts to rescue passengers and ordered to make rescue work a priority after the bullet train derailing accident late Saturday in east China's Zhejiang Province.

Zhou Yongkang, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang also instructed relevant departments to manage the rescue work well, according to a statement posted on the website of the Ministry of Railways.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Norwegian bomber suspect identified as Anders Behring Breivik,

Police in Oslo have detained a 32-year-old blond Norwegian man in connection with a bomb attack and a shooting incident on Friday in which eight-seven people were killed. A 32-year-old Norwegian bomber suspect identified as Anders Behring Breivik,arrested after at least 87 people were killed in two attacks in Norway.

First bomb blast where-at least seven people died in Oslo as a huge car bomb exploded close to buildings which house the offices of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.Another bomb,further 80 were killed when a man dressed as a police officer opened fire on the island of Utoya where a youth meeting of the ruling Labour Party was taking place.Police said that at least 10 had been killed on the holiday island but the death toll rose dramatically early this morning.Police chief Oystein Maeland told a news conference: "We can't guarantee that won't increase", adding the attack had reached "catastrophic dimensions".The suspect being held in connection with both attacks has been named in Norwegian television reports as Anders Behring Breivik.Police are understood to have searched a flat in west Oslo where the man lived.

An anonymous police official said the suspect was arrested in Utoya and appears to have acted alone in the attacks.

Prime Minister had been due to attend the event on Saturday.Mr Stoltenberg said that Norway would gain strength from the attacks.
"We are a small country, but a very proud one," he said."Nobody can bomb us to be quiet. Nobody can shoot us to be quiet. Nobody can ever scare us from being Norway."

Witnesses adds the gunman moved across the small,Utoya island firing at random as young people fled in fear.Jorgen Benone was on the island and said he saw people being shot by the man.He said he saw people jumping into the water to try and save themselves, but he thought that "many lost their lives trying to escape"."I was terrified for my life - I thought of all the people I love," he said.

Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang, said he would not have believed Norway could be attacked.He said he wished he could have been on Utoya: "To stand in front of the young people and ask the gunman to shoot me instead."

Norwegian journalist Kadafi Zanan said police had sealed off the area and were only letting families onto the island.Mr Zanan said that people in boats were searching in the water for those who were still missing.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was outraged by the attacks.
"I have offered Britain's help, including through our close intelligence cooperation," he said."We will work with Norway to hunt the murderers who did this and prevent any more innocent deaths."Media-agencies

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DRDO to get 35 acres land in Jharkhand

Jharkhand would provide 35 acres of land in Deoghar to the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at Deoghar.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday at Ranchi, the state Cabinet Secretary Aditya Swaroop said that a decision to this effect was taken in the Cabinet meeting, to provide 35 acres of land to the Government of India at a price of 49 lakhs rupees.

Elected Rep, not Generals blamed for corruption: Gilani

Elected representatives not Generals blamed for corruption: Gilani
Elected representatives not Generals blamed for corruption: Gilani LONDON: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that elected representatives are blamed for corruption so as to topple the government, Geo News reported.He was addressing the annual gala dinner of UK-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries here.

Gilani said elected representatives are blamed for corruption so as to topple the government. The Generals are never blamed for the menace, he added."My government strongly believes in checks and balances. The Executive, the Parliament, and the Judiciary have to play their respective roles as provided for in the Constitution. Problems arise when we trespass into the domain of others," he said.

Gilani said British-Pakistanis are a living bridge between the two countries and quoted the statement of British Prime Minister David Cameron who said that Pakistan's future is Britain's future. He said Pakistan was proud of the British-Pakistanis' hard-work, professionalism and commitment to both Britain and Pakistan.

The Prime Minister encouraged the British-Pakistanis to invest in Pakistan and benefit from the huge opportunities in the sectors of energy, including renewable energy sources, infrastructure, agriculture and agro-based industry, education, health and information and communication technologies.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Murdoch appears before Parliament in UK-phone hacking scandal

United Kingdom, Media tycoon Ruper Murdoch said, on Tuesday is the most humble day of his life as he began appearance before a Parliamentary committee investigating alleged wrongdoings by his journalists. Mr. Murdoch's son James Murdoch appearing alongside him also apologised unreservedly to people whose telephone messages were unlawfully intercepted by the now defunctional newspaper,-The News of the World. The two men were summoned to Parliament following allegations that the paper routinely bribed police for information and hacked the phones of thousands of people including victims of crime and the members of the British Royal Palace.

James Mudoch said there was no evidence of any impropriety by former staff in his organisation who have resigned including the Chief Executive of the News International Rebekah Brooks. Mr. Rupert Murdoch said he was shocked, appalled and ashamed when he was told about the phone hacking by the News of the World, of the phone of the murdered English school girl Milly Dowler.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Singapore,Japan launch anti corruption training for Afghans

Singapore and Japan are jointly organizing the first anti corruption training for senior Afghan government officials in Singapore this week, turning into reality a plan that was announced by the Japanese government last year.A group of 18 Afghan officials are taking part in the five-day seminar that begins today -marking the first collaboration between Japan and Singapore in providing technical assistance to Afghanistan in public governance and anticorruption, Singapore's Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday.The plan was announced by then Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada at the International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul in July last year.

Japan and Singapore will share their experiences in running clean governments during the seminar, which is jointly sponsored by Singapore's Foreign Ministry and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and conducted by the Singapore Civil Service College.Seminar will include site visits to Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and Supreme Court.Two Japanese professors from Meiji University will explain the evolution of the Japanese system of government and its experience in managing corruption.The project comes under an existing Japan-Singapore partnership agreement to provide technical assistance to developing countries.Media-agencies

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Afghan president, Karzai-top adviser shot dead

Five gunmen stormed into the house, killed the president's aide a top adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a member of the country's parliament in Kabul yesterday, just days after the president's brother was gunned down.A senior aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Jan Mohammad Khan, and deputy of the lower chamber of the Afghan parliament Hasham Atanwal have been killed in the Kapisa province, a source at the Afghan Interior Ministry said on Sunday.Armed men started a gun battle at the house of Jan Mohammad Khan, a former governor of southern Uruzgan province. MP Hashim Watanwal was also killed, said witnesses who had seen the bodies of both men being brought out.

Taliban on Monday claimed the overnight killing of one of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's key advisers, who died along with a lawmaker in an attack on his home in Kabul.Jan Mohammad Khan, the former governor of southern Uruzgan province and a key ally of the embattled president, was killed along with an MP for Uruzgan.

"We killed Jan Mohammad Khan. We made him pay for his deeds," Taliban's spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahed, told by telephone from an undisclosed location-reports-Geotv

No to German award for Putin

No to German award for Putin,A Private German foundation "Quadriga" canceled an award ceremony in midst of criticism for its choice to honor Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.Quadriga foundation initial intended to honor Putin for his leadership in forging closer relations with Germany,Quadriga foundation said,"concerned by the massive criticism" from media & politicians.It is calling off this year's award ceremony all together, traditionally held on the anniversary of German reunification in October because of the "increasingly unbearable pressure."
Other leaders were too to be honored-are Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa for their political leadership.Media-agencies

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Eight banks fail EU stress test

Eight banks fail EU stress test with 16 in danger zone-Eight out of 90 European banks have failed stress tests designed to ensure they can withstand another financial crisis. The European Banking Authority (EBA), which carried out the healthcheck, said another 16 banks were in the danger zone. The EBA called on national financial regulators to ensure that capital shortfalls would be quickly resolved. Five Spanish banks failed, as well as one in Austria and two in Greece. On Wednesday, Germany's Helaba pulled out of the stress tests, effectively making it the ninth bank to fail.

Friday, July 15, 2011

ISRO's PSLV-C17 Launch GSAT-12

ISRO's PSLV launch GSAT-12:GSAT-12 "fast-track" satellite with a mass of 1410 kg, has 12 Extended C-band transponders. It is to be injected into space by PSLV-C17 after the launch from Sriharikota spaceport slated between 16.48 hours and 17.08 hours on July 15.

PSLV-C17 carrying India's latest communication satellite GSAT-12 lifted off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.The Geostationary satellite GSAT-12 will meet the country’s growing demand for communication transponders. Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO, has used the most powerful version of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle configuration for this mission.

The GSAT-12 has 12 Extended C-band transponders which will augment the capacity in the INSAT system for communication services like Tele-education, Telemedicine and for Village Resource Centres. Seventeen consecutive PSLV missions have been successful so far.DD-National channel telecast the Mission Launch successfully,with its introduction in the desired orbit with clinical timing.

PSLV is being used to loft a communication satellite, the first one being Kalpana-1 in 2002.Bangalore-headquartered ISRO opted for this step as there is a large unfulfilled and pressing demand for communication transponders.Communication satellites are launched on board Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or ISRO goes in procured launches overseas.

"But we wanted to create (transponder) capacity at the earliest. That's why we used the PSLV for the purpose (of launching a communication satellite), and achieve whatever is possible.. best possible by a PSLV with XL configuration. That's the most powerful configuration," ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said.

Radhakrishnan said in the beginning of the 11th plan, ISRO had 211 transponders, and the target then set was to take it to almost 500 by March 2012, which is end of the plan period. But except for 24 transponders added by GSAT-8, which was operationalised recently, ISRO had not been able to enhance these numbers since September 2007.

"During the period, most of our satellites have either completed their normal life or there were premature terminations," he said. "So, this resulted in the 211 becoming 175 now. There is a lot of unfulfilled demand to be met," he added.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Delegation from Mozambique Calls on Shri Virbbhadra Singh

Delegation from Mozambique Calls on Shri Virbbhadra Singh
A delegation led by Mr. Zeferino Alexandre Martins, Minister of Education, Government of Republic of Mozambique called on Shri Virbhadra Singh, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) here today. The Mozambican delegation comprised of technical and educational organizations Welcoming the visiting dignitaries, Shri Virbhadra Singh assured full co-operation for the development of MSME sector in both countries. He said that MSME is one of the most important sector contributing to Indian economy. It is because of this that Government has established an exclusive Ministry for overseeing the development of this sector. Minister for MSME emphasized that sharing of best experiences between the two countries should be the first step. He stated that the MSME sector in India contribute to about 45% of the total manufactured output and nearly 40% of India’s exports. There are approximately 26 million MSMEs in our country providing employment to about 60 million persons. He further informed that Government of India is having very good infrastructure for providing entrepreneurship development training and offered to provide tailor-made programmes for the people of Mozambique, if they so desired. He informed that M/o MSME has already signed an MoU with Mozambican Ministry of Industry and Commerce. In this regard, he also informed that the 1st Joint Committee meeting is going to be held at Maputo at the end of the September, 2011. Shri Virabhadra Singh also informed the delegation regarding the value addition in the Khadi and Village Industries Sector by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) of the Ministry.

Mr. Zeferino Alexandre Martins, thanked Shri Virabhadra Singh and mentioned that there are enormous opportunities in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises for mutual benefits of both the countries. MSME is priority sector for them and they have plenty of land and resources available with them. He expressed his desire to collaborate with Indian MSME sector in view of the tremendous work done by India in this sector. He further stated that they are very keen to learn from Indian experiences in the area of entrepreneurship and vocational training.

Mumbai serial blasts

Mumbai serial blasts-Official Update on serial blasts in Mumbai (13th July 2011)

. 03 blasts were reported in Mumbai by the Mumbai Police at 06:54 PM at Opera House, 06:55 PM at Zaveri Bazar and 07:06 PM at Kabuthar Khana, Dadar on 13th July 2011.

• Union Home Minister Mr. P Chidambaram visited all the 03 blast sites and visited the injured at the Saifee hospital. He also conducted a meeting with C.M Maharashtra at Mantralaya.

• Union Home Minister will hold a press conference at 0930 AM today alongwith the Chief Minister, Maharashtra at Sahyadri Guest House, Mumbai.

• According to reports from the Mumbai Police 17 persons have died and another 133 persons are injured. These figures are subject to change on the basis of further verifications and confirmations.

• The CFSL teams from Delhi (7 members) and Pune (4 members) have reached Mumbai, visited all the sites and collected samples.

• NIA team has reached Mumbai at 0140 AM on 14/07/2011.

• 06 member Post blast investigation team of NSG reached Mumbai at 0225 AM on 14/07/11.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thai election commission withholds results

Thailand’s Election Commission has postponed certifying the poll victory of Yingluck Shinawatra, the opposition leader who was poised to become the fractious nation’s first female Prime Minister,investigate alleged electoral law violations.
Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party won 265 of the parliament seats up for grabs, a victory that gave the opposition the crucial majority it needed to form a government.
Election Commission, which has the right to disqualify winners, did not specify reasons for it rulings on Tuesday.

Among the 142 candidates in the 500-member lower house of parliament that the commission failed to endorse was the army-backed incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Yingluck is the youngest sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose overthrow in a 2006 military coup triggered years of turmoil.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cruise Ship Bulgaria sank in river Volga 100-missing

Russia, two bodies were recovered so far from the Volga river in Tatarstan after the cruise ship Bulgaria, carrying 185 people sank in the river yesterday. The Russian Emergencies Situation Ministry said, 80 people on board the double-decker ship have been rescued, over 100 passengers are still missing. Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova said the chances of finding more survivors were very bleak. She said, rescuers are working round the clock. The Cruise Ship Bulgaria, built in 1955, had sank in river Volga near the village of Syukeyevo in the Russian republic of Tatarstan. The ill fated vintage ship was on its way from the Tatar town of Bolgar to Kazan.

Middle Asia Zone Qualifying Round- July 13-15-at the Thyagraj Stadium in N Delhi,

From the Basketball Federation of India (BFI):
India's new head coach and former NBA coach Kenny Natt will finally get an opportunity to play the Indian team against competitive international opposition. The Indian Senior Men’s Basketball team have been pooled with Sri Lanka as they prepare to take part in the Middle Asia Zone Qualifying Round against SAARC teams at the Thyagraj Stadium in New Delhi, from July 13-15. The winner of this five-team qualifier event will qualify for the 26th FIBA Asia Basketball Championship that will be held in Wuhan (China) between Asia’s 16 best basketball teams from September 15-25. Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh are in Pool B of the Qualifiers.
Pool A: India, Sri Lanka
Pool B: Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan
India will play a maximum of three games in this round – these qualifiers will also be the first chance for India’s new American basketball coach, Kenny Natt, to see his team perform in competitive matches against international opposition. Natt, a former NBA coach, has been holding camp with the Senior Probables team for about a month at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi.
The final 12-man roster for India that will take part in this competition will be released tomorrow.
The qualifiers will be held in a league-cum-knockout basis. Two teams from each pool will qualify for the Semi-Finals. Here is the schedule of the games:


The international matches will be held at the Thyagraj Indoor Stadium in New Delhi. The BFI would like to invite all mediapersons to come and cover this event. Schedule of the games have been attached.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

PM:Dr Singh speech at 5th Conference of SAARC Speakers

Prime Minister at the 5th Conference of Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians:

Following is the text of the speech of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh at the 5th Conference of Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians in New Delhi today:
"I warmly welcome all the distinguished delegates at the Fifth Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians in India. I extend a special welcome to the delegates from Afghanistan, who are participating in this Conference for the first time.

South Asia has seen many changes since the first Conference was held in 1995. The winds of democracy have swept across the length and breadth of South Asia. In some cases, there has been a peaceful transition from an old order to a new one. In some, the end of war and conflict has opened new opportunities for political accommodation and devolution of powers. In others, the struggle for the hearts and minds of the people is underway to defeat the forces of terrorism and extremism.

The picture is a mixed one, but what is common is the optimism about the future and the abiding faith of our people in universal adult franchise and free and fair elections.Parliament is the supreme organ of democracy that reflects the collective will of the people and the sovereignty of the state. Today, more than ever before, a tremendous responsibility rests on our parliaments to safeguard political liberties, protect fundamental human freedoms and the rule of law.At the SAARC Summit in Thimphu in April last year, SAARC Leaders had agreed that a Conclave of SAARC Parliamentarians be established in order to benefit from the democratic and participatory tradition represented by the Parliamentarians of South Asia.

We had also agreed to form a ‘South Asia Forum’ with representatives from Parliaments of SAARC countries to engender debate, discussion and exchange of ideas on South Asia and its future development.These are initiatives worthy of our wholehearted support.We in South Asia face common challenges of mass poverty, unemployment, lack of adequate health care, illiteracy and environmental degradation. Each of us has rich and varied experiences in tackling these challenges. We should learn from each other’s experiences, and reinforce each other’s efforts to deal with these challenges.

One of the lessons history has taught us is that no country can prosper in isolation. We live in an inter-connected world, and this is especially so in South Asia. We share common borders, whether on land or sea. What happens in one country necessarily affects the other. Our destinies are bound by history as well as by geography. If we act with wisdom and sagacity, we all stand to benefit.

The free flow of information and the explosion in communication technologies imply that physical borders can no longer divide our nations. We must not only keep pace with technology, but also harness its benefits to bring down the psychological barriers that separate us.We have a shared civilizational and cultural heritage going back many centuries. We celebrate our pluralism and diversity of religion, language and culture while finding our strength in unity. We must learn to speak with one voice on the common challenges that face us.

South Asia is home to perhaps the most youthful population in the world. They demand and deserve a better future, and it is incumbent on us to respond to their aspirations. We can reap a rich demographic dividend if we can equip our youth with the right skills, make them employable and channel their energies to productive ends. Disaffection and alienation provide a fertile breeding ground for intolerance, violence and terrorism which then threaten our societies and rupture the social fabric.

The establishment of the South Asian University is a most timely initiative in this context. I am happy that it has started its academic session in 2010. With the support of all SAARC nations, the University has the potential to become an important centre of learning in the region.

Economic development is a fundamental prerequisite for human progress. Economic growth has to be inclusive and balanced. We cannot allow pockets of poverty to persist either within our countries or within the broader region. India provides opportunities for all of South Asia to benefit from its economic growth and vast market. We have opened our market and we are committed to pursuing policies that benefit the entire regional economy as a whole. South Asia must prosper as a whole.

Intra-regional trade since the introduction of the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006 has grown to 1.2 billion US dollars. We have declared 2010-2020 as the ‘Decade of Intra-regional Connectivity’ in SAARC. The SAARC Development Fund is now well-established. The SAARC Regional Food Bank has been set up to meet food emergencies in the region.

We are moving in the right direction, but we need to move much faster.

Perhaps no region is more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and other challenges to sustainable development than ours. Regional cooperation is vital for improving the quality of governance in managing our natural resources, in preventing land and water degradation and in strengthening our food, water and energy security. We should do this at all levels – bilaterally, sub-regionally and as a region as a whole. The SAARC Convention on Cooperation in Environment agreed upon at the SAARC Summit in Thimphu in 2010 deserves to be implemented in full.

I am glad that this Conference will focus on the issue of sustainable development. South Asia cannot afford to copy western lifestyles. We have to tap our own genius to develop models of growth which correspond to our resource endowments, and yet enable us to banish the scourge of poverty from our midst.

South Asia cannot realise its full potential until and unless we solve our differences peacefully and develop the culture of solving our problems ourselves. Others cannot solve our problems for us. The scourge of terrorism has taken a huge toll on all our societies. It is a cancer that if not checked, will consume us all. I would like to believe that we have the will and foresight to prevent such an outcome.

Resolving differences and reconciling different viewpoints are what Parliaments and their Presiding Officers do on a daily basis. This is a job Smt. Meira Kumar has done with outstanding success in our own Lok Sabha and I congratulate her. As Parliamentarians you are uniquely placed to help inculcate the sense of a common South Asian destiny in your countries. We would like to see many more exchanges among our Parliamentarians.

India remains firmly committed to principles and ideals of SAARC. We will go the extra mile to make SAARC an effective organisation that benefits all citizens of South Asia.

In conclusion, let me say that we would like our Parliamentarians to act as the conscience keepers of South Asian cooperation and integration. I wish you all success in your deliberations and look forward to your valuable recommendations.

With these words, I have great pleasure in declaring the 5th Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians open.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"Reformasi" (Reforms) and "God is Great" :Malaysias elections next year

Malaysian police arrested more than 400 people on Saturday and used tear gas as a massive lockdown was imposed on the capital to thwart an opposition-backed rally demanding electoral reforms.Police spokesman Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf told media the arrests were made from midnight around Kuala Lumpur. Police have declared the protest illegal, warning of chaos in the streets."They were arrested mainly for illegal assemblies around various points in the capital," Ramli said, insisting that no violence used in the 441 arrests.Despite the detentions, about 1,500 people, many of them shouting "Reformasi" (Reforms) and "God is Great" marched towards a mosque near the downtown Merdeka Square.

More than-300 protesters gathered at a railway station were dispersed by police who shouted and ordered them to leave, resulting in scuffles and shouting as some who resisted were put into police vans.Downtown Kuala Lumpur, normally a hive of activity on weekends, was deserted as major roads into the commercial and tourist district were sealed off.

Hundreds of policemen, many armed with batons and anti-riot gear and backed by water cannon, have been deployed in strategic locations around the capital.Several shops in the main shopping and commercial district surrounding the landmark 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers were closed.Public transport plying city routes was diverted, while long-distance buses were halted at terminals outside Kuala Lumpur.
Fears of violence have been highlighted because of plans by pro-government groups to hold a counter-rally.

The police barricades created huge traffic jams overnight as officers checked every vehicle for protesters attempting to sneak in ahead of the rally, which comes ahead of polls due by early next year.Rally organisers said they will not back down and would gather outside the iconic Merdeka Stadium in downtown Kuala Lumpur at around 0600 GMT in the hope police would allow them to enter the stadium to preserve safety.The protest is spearheaded by Bersih, a broad but loose coalition of groups, including non-governmental organisations and opposition political parties.

The demonstrators want reforms that will prevent some people being allowed to vote several times during elections.The opposition made major gains in 2008 elections against the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition but said they could have won more if elections rules were fair.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has defended tough police action against the rally and denied Malaysia was moving away from democracy.Before Saturday's roundup, around 230 people had been arrested since June 25, including six under a strict security law that allows for detention without trial.

The last rally in 2007 demanding electoral reforms organised by opposition parties attracted about 50,000 protesters.Malaysia's next elections are widely expected to be called early next year, with the opposition aiming to end Barisan Nasional's half a century rule and the ruling party also hoping to recover from its losses.media-agencies

PM to inaugurate SAARC Speakers' &Parliamentarians conference

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate conference of Speakers and parliamentarians of SAARC countries in New Delhi on Saturday.The fifth conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians will be held in New Delhi from 9th to 12th July.This is the second time that the event is being held in the country.
Nearly 130 delegates, observers from the eight SAARC countries, will be attending the four day Conference. Afghanistan, which became the eighth member of SAARC in 2007, will be formally joining the Conference for the first time.
The Conference will deliberate upon two themes -- "Consolidating Democracy: Strengthening Trust between Parliament and the People" and "Sustainable Development in SAARC Countries- The Way Forward", Speaker Meira Kumar said.Addressing a press conference, Kumar said Speakers of national Parliaments of all the eight SAARC member-states would address the inaugural session.Earlier, the conferences had been held in Delhi, Islamabad, Dhaka and Colombo.The delegates from SAARC countries are scheduled to visit Jaipur and Ajmer on Monday.

Friday, July 8, 2011

NKorea paid bribes to Pak military for nuclear know how: Khan

North Korea paid several million dollars to top Pakistani Army officials to gain access to secret nuclear tech and sensitive equipments required in manufacturing a nuclear bomb, disgraced nuclear scientist A Q Khan has claimed by releasing a secret letter in this regard, a major American daily has reported.

According to the letter posted by 'The Washington Post' on its website, which is accompanied by a story, Jon ByongHo, Secretary of the Workers party of (North) Korea, in a letter dated 15th July, 1998 asks A Q Khan, who then was the project director of the Kahuta Research Center, to give "agreed documents" and "components" to a North Korean Embassy official in Islamabad.

In the letter, the authenticity of which according to The Post has been confirmed by senior US and western officials, Jon says that "3 million dollars have already been paid to Army Chief Gen J Karamat and half a million dollars and 3 diamond and ruby sets have been given to Gen Zulfiqar Khan".Both Karamat and Khan have refuted the allegations.In an e-mail from Lahore, Karamat said that Khan, as part of his defense against allegations of personal responsibility for illicit nuclear proliferation, had tried "to shift blame on others".

He said the letter's allegations were "malicious with no truth in them whatsoever", The Post said.

Khan called the letter "a fabrication".

It is not on any official letterhead and bears no seal.

"The reference to alleged payment and gifts to senior Pakistani military officers is ludicrous," the daily said.

The Washington Post said the letter was provided to it by former British journalist Simon Henderson, who the daily verified had obtained it from Khan.

A US intelligence official who tracks nuclear proliferation matters said it contains accurate details of sensitive matters known only to a handful of people in Pakistan, North Korea and the United States, the daily noted.

"If the letter is genuine, it would reveal a remarkable instance of corruption related to nuclear weapons.US officials have worried for decades about the potential involvement of elements of Pakistans military in illicit nuclear proliferation, partly because terrorist groups in the region and governments of other countries are eager to acquire an atomic bomb or the capacity to build one," the daily said.

Olli Heinonen, a 27-year veteran of the International Atomic Energy Agency who led its investigation of Khan before moving to Harvard Kennedy School last year, said the letter is similar to other North Korean notes that he had seen or received.

They typically lacked a letterhead, he said; moreover, he said,”He has previously heard similar accounts originating from senior Pakistanis of clandestine payments by North Korea to Pakistani military officials and government advisers," the Post said. media agencies

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

S Africa's Zuma calls for 'urgent' Libya peace process

South African President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday called for Libya to urgently begin peace negotiations, after his talks with Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of a NATO meeting.

"We emphasised the importance of starting negotiations urgently, and we requested NATO to assist to persuade the TNC (the rebel's Transitional National Council) to remove some of the preconditions that are making it hard or impossible to start with the negotiation process," Zuma said.

Zuma is part of a team leading efforts by the African Union to push a regional peace plan to end the conflict -a blueprint so far rejected by the rebels, who insisted that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi must first cede power.

The AU plan calls for both sides in the Libyan conflict to hold talks and for a multinational peacekeeping force organised by the United Nations to supervise a ceasefire.During his visit to Sochi, Zuma also met with NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was there for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council."We were also very pleased that President Medvedev assured us of his country's support of the AU roadmap.We agree that the military solution is not the correct way to resolve problem," Zuma said in a statement.

Zuma said South Africa had "reiterated our concerns about the misinterpretation of the UN resolution" authorising a no-fly zone over Libya, which NATO has used to justify its bombing campaign.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pak suspend FIA officer on NICL corruption scandal

Another ugly turn in NICL corruption scandal investigation, the federal government Monday night suspended a competent senior FIA officer, Zafar Ahmad Qureshi, on the pretext of his “speaking to media”.A recent government attempt to remove Qureshi, who is FIA additional director general (ADG), from the multi-billion rupees corruption case was thwarted by the Supreme Court on Friday as the court cancelled his transfer orders. The chief justice lauded the officer, saying that Qureshi has recovered 1.75 billion rupees to the national exchequer, which was record recovery in a criminal case.The ministry of interior has appointed Shafqat Naghmi as an inquiry officer and asked him to submit report in one week. LAHORE – In yet another ugly turn in NICL corruption scandal investigation, the federal government Monday night suspended a competent senior FIA officer, Zafar Ahmad Qureshi, on the pretext of his “speaking to media”.
A recent government attempt to remove Qureshi, who is FIA additional director general (ADG), from the multi-billion rupees corruption case was thwarted by the Supreme Court on Friday as the court cancelled his transfer orders. The chief justice lauded the officer, saying that Qureshi has recovered 1.75 billion rupees to the national exchequer, which was record recovery in a criminal case.
The ministry of interior has appointed Shafqat Naghmi as an inquiry officer and asked him to submit report in one week.Media Source said that Zafar Qureshi, who was heading investigation team probing corruption in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL), has been suspended for his bringing the case on the media.
Significantly the suspension order for Zafar Ahmad Qureshi was issued after Senior Minister Prevaiz Elahi accompanied by Minister for Interior Rehman Malik called on Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Prevaiz Elahi’s son Moonis Elahi is involved in the scam and he has been under detention for the last few months.
The move that will further delay the probe – which the apex court wants to be completed at the earliest possible – has been justified by the government saying that the FIA ADG talked to the media, an area prohibited to the bureaucracy. Source claimed that it was unclear how the top court will proceed on the subject.
With his restoration orders the apex court had also directed FIA DG to facilitate ADG Qureshi in NICL scam investigation. But instead of facilitating the ADG, the DG on the very same day transferred all investigation team members assisting the ADG in the NICL case to remote and difficult posts. An FIA officer said that he was suspended only to teach him a lesson.Report Pak nation

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pro-democracy demonstrators marched through cities in Moroccao

Pro-democracy demonstrators marched through cities in Moroccao:
In Moroccao, thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators marched through cities on Sunday to protest constitutional changes they say fail to ease King Mohammed VI's autocratic grip on power.At least 1,000 people marched in the capital, Rabat. Thousands more rallied in Morocco's main economic hub, Casablanca, where pro-government supporters clashed with demonstrators. There were also pro-democracy protests in the port city of Tangiers and the popular tourist destination of Marrakech.The February 20 Movement, whose protests over the past few months prompted the king to initiate the reforms, denounced his new constitution as window dressing meant to preserve the monarchy's authority.

Under the proposals, the Prime Minister would no longer be appointed by the king, but would be selected by the majority party in parliament and designated as President of the government. The charter broadens the powers of the country's elected politicians and grants the judiciary more independence.Moroccan officials say 98 percent of Friday's voters approved the new constitution with a stunning 72 percent of the country's 13 million registered voters casting a ballot. The United States, European Union, France and Spain have welcomed the referendum in Morocco, which has strong ties to the West.

Wimbledon:Bhupathi-Vesnina mixed doubles runners-up

Indian tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi failed to notch up his third Wimbledon mixed doubles title as he and his partner Elena Vesnina were outplayed by Jurgen Melzer and Iveta Benesova in straight sets in the final in London on Sunday.The fourth seeded Indo-Russian pair lost 3-6 2-6 to their ninth seeded opponents in a 51-minute summit clash at the center court.Austrian Melzer and Czech Republic's Benesova, who have not lost a single set on their way to the title, were the dominant pair for most part of the final match with better serve and returns.

Bhupathi and Vesnina found their opponents' serve too hot to handle most of the time as the Austrian-Czech duo had as many as seven aces to the Indo-Russian duo's two -- with Melzer serving at lightning pace without reply on many occasions.Bhupathi and Vesnina were broken serve in the fourth game as Melzer and Benesova raced to 4-1 lead before winning the first set 6-3 in 24 minutes.

In the second set, Bhupathi and Vesnina were broken in the third and seventh games to lose it in 27 minutes and surrender the match.With the loss, Bhupathi failed to equal his once estranged doubles partner Leander Paes' 12 Grand Slam titles as he remained on 11 Major crowns -- seven in mixed doubles and four in men's doubles.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Syria: Hama’s Governor faces Prez wrath;

President Assad of Syria has dismissed the Governor of the city of Hama, a day after it was the scene of one of the biggest demonstrations yet against his rule. The sacking of Ahmed Khalid Abdul Aziz was announced on Syrian State television. His departure follows huge protests on Friday,with some reports putting the turn out in the city at half a million. It is not clear whether the Governor of the city of Hama was sacked for failing to take action to quell the protests or was the move to appease the demonstrators themselves.
Meanwhile, the death toll in yesterday's clashes between protesters and security forces in Syria has risen to 28. Most of yesterday's victims were killed in the Idlib province, where troops backed by tanks and armoured personnel carriers have swept through villages to crush dissent against Assad's regime. Human rights activists say, 16 people were killed in Idlib and another 10 were killed when security forces opened fire to disperse protests in several cities.

Friday, July 1, 2011

US :No- to vacate Shamsi base

US No-to vacate Shamsi base
Friday, July 01, 2011
US rejects demands to vacate Shamsi base WASHINGTON: The United States is rejecting demands from Pakistani officials that American personnel abandon a military base used by the CIA to stage drone strikes against suspected militants, US officials told Reuters.US personnel have not left the remote Pakistani military installation known as Shamsi Air Base and there is no plan for them to do so, said a US official familiar with the matter, who asked for anonymity to discuss sensitive material."That base is neither vacated nor being vacated," the official said. The information was confirmed by a second US official.

On Wednesday, federal Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said that US had been asked to stop using the base for drone strikes and vacate it.Relations between the two uneasy allies deteriorated after the May 2 raid by US SEALs in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden. Wednesday’s statement by Mr Mukhtar was the latest salvo.“We have been talking to them (on the issue) for some time, but after May 2, we told them again,” he told Reuters on Thursday. “When they (US forces) will not operate from there (Shamsi base), no drone attacks will be carried out.” Reports-Dawn-daily.

Earlier this week, Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar told the Financial Times that Pakistan had already stopped US drone operations there.On Thursday, Mukhtar told Reuters: "When they (US forces) will not operate from there, no drone attacks will be carried out."

He said Islamabad had been pressuring the US to vacate the base even before the May 2 commando raid in which US Navy SEAL commandos killed Osama bin Laden. After the raid, Mukhtar said, "We told them again."

A senior Pakistani military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that when US forces first launched counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan "provided Americans two bases in Jacobabad and Shamsi. Jacobabad base has been vacated for long time ago, but Shamsi is still with them."

"They are vacating it," the official insisted. "Shamsi base was for logistic purpose. They also used it for drones for some time but no drones have been flown from there."
Media-Agencies

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